zoom controls
fingerprintpilot study
"I'm just as good at things as other people, but I think about and do them in a different way" (1)

This research project is underpinned by a small-scale study completed as the dissertation component in 2008 at the University of Southampton to conclude the requirement for the researcher's MSc and is now considered as a vital pre-research pilot study to this PhD. The broad outline of the dissertation is summarized by the abstract. The complete, final dissertation is available here:link to MSc Dissertation

Pilot study abstract
May 2008, University of Southampton
This small scale research project explores attitudes towards dyslexia and the interrelation of these with the uptake of a differentiated learning and study support provision for students in a higher education institution. The study focuses on exploring why a significant proportion of students who are entitled to use this differentiated resource appear either not to do so at all, or use it very infrequently. A group of 86 students were identified who shared similar characteristics such that they were all due to graduate at the same time-point, were all registered with the support service before an earlier established time-point, and were all identified as dyslexic. This group was then divided according to their use of the support service as determined by their respective frequency of access to the computer facilities over a specific date-to-date interval so that two distinct subgroups of users could be identified: those who access the support on a regular basis (Users) as opposed to those who are rarely, if ever seen (Non- Users). The research has been specifically interested in exploring the differences between students' attitudes and feelings about their own dyslexic learning differences and their perceptions of the impact that the syndrome has on their study regimes to try to understand if this was a factor in determining this disparity of use of the support facility. The psychological construct of Locus of Control (LoC) has been used as a quantifier of attitudes and feelings for each individual, which was deconstructed into five psychological sub-constructs to enable a 'profile' for each student to be established so that similarities and/or significant differences might be more easily identified. The hypothesis being tested is that students with a higher Internal Locus of Control will be the students who use the learning support service more rarely (or in terms of a null hypothesis: choice of uptake of learning support is independent of level of Internal Locus of Control). Both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the data collected has been applied, and although overall no statistically significant differences were identified between the two sub-groups using the parameters defined, interesting similarities and differences between Locus of Control characteristics were exposed, and some statistically significant differences between the two groups did emerge when exploring the sub-components of the psychological constructs used to establish the overall LoC profiles. An innovative, graphical presentation of the profile for each individual was developed which enabled more qualitative analysis to be undertaken and when taken together with personal comments from individuals who completed the research questionnaire, this analysis did then reveal some clear differences between the profiles of those who use the support service and those who do not.

LoCProfile24The Locus of Control Profiles generated by the data collected were presented using a '5-axis radar plot' where each axis enables a score to be plotted from data results in the five sub-constructs. The complete set of 41 profiles generated in the pilot study (from the 41 e-QNR returns) is viewable here: link to LoC Profiles and the original e-Questionnaire that was developed and deployed in the MSc Pilot Study is also archived here:link to e-questionnaire

The process of representation of data collected will be developed in this current project to enable it to be used as the dyslexia discriminator for identifying the research group DNI: students currently unaware of any dyslexic learning difference that may be present in their learning profile.

The information contained in these profiles is complex and it is recognized that teasing out the interrelationships between each of the five sub-constructs is likely to be equally complex and require a multi-factoral quantitative analysis which is still to be developed. To aid this, the data previously collected in the pilot study will be re-analysed using a more robust stats process than was originally adopted because it is felt that revisiting these earlier ideas may contribute to substantiating their underpinning validity to this current project.